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Gov. Easley Signs Bill For Spanish Instructions On Ballots

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RALEIGH — The newest law on the books will address North Carolina's soaring Hispanic population.

In a bill-signing ceremony at the Capitol this morning, Governor Easley spoke a few Spanish words in his opening remarks as he prepared to sign into law a requirement that election ballot instructions be printed in both English and Spanish.

"Buenos dias, muchas gracia por venir," said Easley.

"This bill is our way in North Carolina of saying we care about you. You matter to us."

The law will require election ballots printed in both English and Spanish in 19 North Carolina counties. The affected counties have at least a 6 percent Hispanic population. Census figures show a 393 percent increase in North Carolina's Hispanic population since 1990.